Great Expectations

>> Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I am a Filipina and practicing ISLAM.
Been reading your write ups and articles and whatever they call it! I find your blog so cool and helpful. I used to do blogging stuffs but then I stopped after getting busy into my high school stuffs.

So decided to send you an email, and thinking if you could help me outta here.

I'm 17 years of age, a college student. And let me say, I love doing community service. I love keeping busy.
I'm trying hard to pray five times a day, do sunnah's and others. (I cannot call my self a FULL Muslim for I still have flaws, yet I strive hard to be a good one! Inshaallah.)

I don't know how to start my query.
You know, I just feel sad these past few days because of my my situation.
My family see me us the villain, the black sheep and the bad one here. (i keep it on my mind NOT THINK that way)
When I first entered college, they asked me what course which I really want to take. So I pursued it.
But then just this summer vacation, I found out that my mom didn't like it for me. So to satisfy her, I decided to shift even if i was able to finish major subjects.
It saddens me that all these times, my parents weren't actually happy for me.
I shifted. Yes, No more science in my life!
And just recently, my father accused me of something I never did. I didn't explain. I shut my mouth to show my respect. I just cried the whole day! I was so depressed, that after doing all those things to satisfy them, they still see me as a failure when in fact I think, my other siblings are more into failure. I am always compared to my sister. a consistent A graded, good in her speaking and writing skills----and she's always the good one here. Whatever she asks from my parents is given to her. Expensive and Impractical ones. As far as I know, I never asked my parents a material thing. Never. I make alternative ways to lessen my expenses as a student. Infact, I do not tell them when I'm sick for them not to be burdened. (I do not envy that. I don't care. after all, we cannot bring them in the hereafter. do i say it right?)
I don't know what to do! I do the household chores. I pray. I wear my hijab properly. I never involved my self into "INLOVE" and boys thing. Astagfirullah! Never entertained suitors and do astagfir for the fitnah. My parents are both professionals and respected, and I never think of making their image bad, never think of staining their jobs.
I have this feeling that maybe my father sees me wrong just because I was not able to get A grade in my studies for the first academic year of my college life. (and i cannot accept that if that's the only reason, then will I be wrong ALWAYS? and my good deeds will not be credited?) *It takes one million good things for you to be called Good Person yet only one mistake to destroy them and be called BAD!*

I am into this sport/organization that at first, my parents did not stop me to join. I was so active before that because I am also into this leadership. Whenever I am committed to a service, I make sure to finish that. In regards with this one, I'm helpless because my mother didn't want me to continue. She wants me to stop from involving in it! But I have so many pending works and responsibilities to be done this following months. and In fact, I will be promoted INSHAALLAH! But if they will let me to stop, then my hardships and sacrifices I did last year will turn to NOTHING. They will turn to ashes! I cannot make promises that I can get A grade even if I'm still active in our organization. I stopped promising! I have this tendency of failing.
I don't feel like talking to my parents because of the fear that they might get me wrong and I'll be wrong. I was still able to maintain my scholarship though. I know what I am doing. Studies first before extra-curricular activities. I know that! I didn't get failing grades (Alhamdulillah) but they are not satisfied with that. they want me to get into top. which i cannot promise because we have limitations. waaaaaaaah! I'm sorry. I guess my story was not like... hmm. okkaay! Maybe I need some advice to keep my positivity and how to cope up with my frustrations. I know, these things are only tests but I can't just deny myself from reacting or overreacting.

Thank You So Much.
I'm looking forward for your AS SOON AS POSSIBLE response.

Hafsa NC with overflowing love. <3

Dearest Hafsa NC,

First of all, let me apologize if this wasn’t as 'fast as you were hoping'. You see, not only do each of us have our own 'real live jobs' to deal with, behind the scenes, we actually have a lot of e-mails to answer (including private e-mails :D).OH, and also, it depends on the type of question. ;)

But, anyways, my heart broke for you as I read your letter.

I see a daughter…wanting her parents to be happy with her…wanting to be loved and appreciated…wanting her parents to be proud of her.

I see a sister who seems a little confused- wondering what more can she for them? What will make her parents accept her?

And about the only thing I have to comfort you with is this-

Sometimes, there is nothing for you to do.

Sometimes, it is not us that need to change- ….

I mean, I really don’t see anything for you to fix. And no easy solution.

You see, we grow up with the notion of parents who know exactly what to say, how to say it and when to say it. We also grow up with the idea of parents who understand their children, support them (almost unconditionally) and encourage them lovingly, etc.

But the reality is that is an over idealized version of parents.

Our parents are human.

I know that sounds pretty 'dumb' and like we 'all know that' but wait one minute….Really, really, let that sink in.

Your parents are not perfect and they never will be perfect. What you’re seeing right now- the part that compares you to your older sister- is simply the ‘human side of them’. The side with weaknesses and faults- just like all of us.

And here's the thing.

I definitely agree that your parents should not compare you to your sister, but sometimes, parents just don’t know any better. Maybe they think that will motivate you more to ‘be successful in the way they understand success.' Maybe they’re doing it because they ‘love you’ and want you to ‘be the best you can be’ and don’t realize that you’re already happy and already trying to be the best you can be.

It's hard being a parent because you are working 24/7. You never stop being a parent, even when you are clueless what to do. Your parents want what's best for you and they think they know what is best for you-- so they're just confused how to get you to see what's 'best for you'.

Sounds confusing?

Think of it this way:

When your parents had you, they probably 'dreamt' what they wanted you to be.

And whether they consciously realized it or not, they probably imagined you to be like them- to have the same similar taste and interests and ideas of success.

I mean, haven’t you ever imagined what you would do with your kids? InshaAllah? Did you ever imagine them to be ‘really different from you’?

It seems to me that you have different interests and versions of success- your parents seem to think that getting straight A+ is important while you seem to recognize that intelligence and success are not limited to ‘grades’.

And that’s part of the conflict. You have different values. You believe helping the community and doing work in the organization is important- they don’t. Or at least, they don’t understand why you put so much work into it.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that your parents maybe cannot relate to you 100% and simply understand your sister more. They maybe don’t mean to compare you guys, but it just happens.

And of course, there’s always the possibility too that maybe they don’t actually compare you more to your sister but you just ‘feel that way’. It’s true! Sometimes, we are the ones projecting feelings onto our parents.

But in ANY event, whether they do compare you or not, realize that you cannot control their feelings about you. No matter what you do and what you sacrifice for them, you will never be able to control what they think of you.

So why let what you think they think of you control your happiness?

 You do not need to measure yourself by the way they measure you.

May Allah forgive me or a sister correct if me I am wrong in that sentence, but what I have understood is that all you have to do Islamically is try to please them, befriend them, treat them with respect and dignity and give them their Islamic rights.

BUT, you do not need to label yourself as a black sheep because you feel that’s what they think of you.

It’s your CHOICE.

You can either
  1. - Succumb to this feeling of ‘being a ‘black sheep’
  2. - Or RISE UP, be proud of yourself, and realize that you are a special

They are both 'options for you'. But only one of them will make you feel happy.

Really, you do not need to wait for your parents' "approval" of you and your achievements to feel proud of yourself. Why wait another day to find happiness? Take pride of your own achievements and the fact that you are trying to be a better Muslimah.

And maybe, instead of making your parents pleasure your ‘goal’, make Allah’s pleasure your goal and the rest inshaAllah will soon follow.

Just one thing- about not wanting to talk to them because you feel they will not understand….

You don’t necessarily have to go up to your parents and say:
“Mom and Dad, why do you treat me like a BLACK SHEEP?”

But you can talk to them about different things. Try to build a relationship with them based on something other than your school work/ college grades. Reach out to them as a friend. Ask them about their day. Show them that no matter what, you care about them.

And inshaAllah, things will get better.

May Allah make things easier for you :) Sisters, share your advice, inshaAllah =)

8 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Anonymous,  June 14, 2011 at 11:00 AM  

MASHALLAH! great response little auntie! I usually dont respond to articles, but this one I HAD to, bcuz I could totally relate to it. Sister your not alone, I have often felt this way sooooo many times. I felt no matter how hard I worked in school, no matter how much housework I did, my parents NEVER noticed. I always felt like the black sheep. And you know what Little Auntie is right you can go on feeling sorry for your self, or you can be proud of yourself and find your inner worth and confidence. Shift your desire from pleasing your parents to pleasing ALLAH s.w.t. I heard in a lecture recently the more we attach ourselves to someone the more they end up hurting us, so the harder you try to gain your worth from your parents, the harder the battle will be. I DONT MEAN THAT YOU SHOULD DISRESPECT YOUR PARENTS OR BE MEAN TO THEM!!! NOT AT ALL!!!! like Little Auntie said, your parents are human, there will be times when those we love, our parents included will hurt us or let us down. That doesnt mean they dont love you, it just means you humble yourself and realize there is one who will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER DISAPPOINT YOU, or LEAVE YOU, ONE WHO RECOGNIZES everything you do. ALLAH S.W.T realizes how hard you work, how much you help your parents, and how obedient you are. He will definitely reward you in this life and the next INSHALLAH!

It took me a looooong time to realize this and I still have to remind myself of this sometimes. But it has made a profound difference in my life. Let me give you a lil sneak peek of my life in a nutshell. I too was once a meek, obedient daughter, I always wanted to work hard and please my parents. But, it seemed like no matter how hard I worked and no matter what I did, I ALWAYS ended up failing, I always came up short. For a long time, AND I MEAN YEARS, I felt sorry for myself, I thought its my fault, that I'm not good enough, I'm not trying hard enough. But ALHAMDULLILAH, recently I learned that all those years of struggle were the best thing what ever happened to me. Those years of struggle humbled me, they taught me the value of patience, and I learned success comes after long struggle and many failures. I learned to depend on ALLAH s.w.t on a much deeper level.

I realized there was no success without ALLAH s.w.t's help and true success isnt about how many grades you get, or how much you get paid, or what kind of car you drive or the house you live in. True success, my dear sister is your relationship with ALLAH s.w.t because that's what TRULY counts at the end of the day.Even though I have overcome a lot and have succeeded in a lot of hurdles, ALHAMDULLILAH, I still struggle for a successful relationship with ALLAH s.w.t. It is a daily struggle. N remember ALLAH s.w.t loves you soooo sooooo soooo soooooo MUCH that he is testing you to purify you and bring you closer to him. Be grateful for this, because very few people are blessed with ALLAH s.w.t's love!!!!

Okay so let me end with this, what happened to the girl that failed at everything whose parents were always disappointed in her, who no one ever thought could measure up to anything? Well it was A LONG, LONG, LONG, STRUGGLE! But, I ended up doing what I wanted to do, I changed my major in colllege a couple of times, which is why I graduated so late. BUT I GRADUATED, ME OF ALL PEOPLE, THE PERSON VOTED LEAST LIKELY TO SUCCEED. I GRADUATED, I made it and so can you. My parents are still upset that I didnt do what they wanted me to do. But, as time has gone by theyre okay with my career decision. They say as long as I can find a stable job and get married, theyll have no complaints. I have yet to find a career as I recently graduated, but I am working at my old University as a temporary worker, and hey it pays the bills. So I just wanted to give you solace that you will be OKAY!

Anonymous,  June 14, 2011 at 11:01 AM  

YOU WILL GRADUATE, YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU WILL GAIN ACCEPTANCE FROM YOUR PARENTS, YOU WILL HAVE A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FAMILY, YOU WILL END UP WITH THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE! ALLAH s.w.t sees all the sacrifices you've made, all the toil you've gone through, and the work you've put in, so you will SURELY be rewarded! INSHALLAH! Just hang in there, because trust me things get better with time, just give your parents time to come around. N one last thing, before you can want acceptance from people you must first gain ACCEPTANCE FROM ALLAH S.W.T!!! If your relationship with ALLAH s.w.t is good, everything will fall into place. Continue to work hard, respect your parents, and SMILE! Have fun, along with working hard-having fun is neccessary too missy!!! And I will definitely keep you in my duas. Watch this lecture-it helped me cope with ALOT of stuff.

Little Auntie June 15, 2011 at 4:09 AM  

^Jazakun Allah khair (sister/ sisters?) for sharing your experiences.

You are ALWAYS welcome to comment here...I honestly believe it's the comments that make this blog special, so keep them coming :)

Hana,  June 15, 2011 at 6:51 AM  

I am a silent reader myself. But I wanted to crawl out of the woodwork coz some things just need to be shared. :-)

I felt the same as you for a really long time. I felt so sorry for myself because whatever I did, it never was good sister was just too perfect. I was so hurt I detached myself. I immersed myself in books and TV. What happened was that I became distant with my family. By 'punishing' them, I punished myself.

Actually, it's not as melodramatic as it sounds...just took me time to understand the reason behind my behaviour and I regret. So badly.

My advice is just hang in there. Remember, keep remembering, that their opinions on things dont matter...Allah's does. Do according to His wishes. Your parents will eventually come through, trust me!! Just that you should NEVER ever distance urself from them...always try to get closer to them and like little auntie says, show them you care.

Oneday they will realise what they had done and know that they have got an awesome daughter. :-)

Mine have begun to and Alhamdulillah I am so so so happy...just that I need to bridge that gap I created.
tc hana

Hafsa NC,  June 15, 2011 at 5:07 PM  

Thanks for the advys Lil aunties! :D
Thanks also to those who gave comments.
Your cheer-ups will surely help me.
I'm working on it. Inshaallah, everything will be fine.
I'm getting away from negative vibes. Islam doesnt like pessimism. :)


Nida,  June 18, 2011 at 7:19 AM  

I felt i had to chip in with my two cents..:) know what , at times i have been in situations where i felt helpless at conveying my thoughts and feelings to my parents, then i WROTE to them..when i was younger these were petty occasions when i wasn't allowed to go to a friend's party or felt that they were unfair to me ..i would write all my feelings down and sometimes just keep the letter to myself and sometimes put it somewhere for them to read, they would read but not talk to me about it (Trust me communication isn't something Pakistani parents believe in) ..but at least i felt i had conveyed my message..
But then once a really serious misunderstanding occurred and as usual my parents didn't talk about it and assumed the worse, i felt EXTREMELY disappointed that they could believe something like that, it was then that i wrote to them from the bottom of my heart and left it in my dad's laptop, he read it, didn't talk to me about it but from then on he knows and understands me much better alhumdulilah !

I could never have said all that to him in person, NEVER but it becomes totally different when its written...Try it..they might ignore it, not respond to it or tell you you're wrong but at least they'll know what you think..and oh yeah be respectful and non accusatory..i hope it helps you as it has helped me over the years :)

Hafsa NC,  June 20, 2011 at 3:27 AM  

To Nida,

ya. right! Ive thought of that. But im still hesitant about doing it-writing my feelings.
maybe i could say, your culture is still different with ours.

I'm working on it. I mean, i'm working on my situations here at home..
I lost the best relationship between my father. after he accused me of something, I never had a chat with him. it's not that I hate him. It's a way to find my dead soul. I don't really know how to say it. But I swear to myself, I'm still working hard to regain the trust and to get back what I've lost. I love my parents. Sometimes, we cant help it but to cry and doubt. teenage life, ya know? :))

Anonymous,  September 4, 2011 at 7:25 AM  


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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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